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Case Name Mitchell v. Metropolitan Life Insurance EE-NY-0255
Docket / Court 1:01-cv-02112 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection IWPR/Wage Project Consent Decree Study
Private Employment Class Actions
Attorney Organization Impact Fund
Case Summary
On March 13, 2001, female sales associates and managers working for MetLife Insurance Company filed a class action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge William H. Pauley III alleging systemic gender discrimination in hiring, pay, promotion, and benefits, in ... read more >
On March 13, 2001, female sales associates and managers working for MetLife Insurance Company filed a class action in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge William H. Pauley III alleging systemic gender discrimination in hiring, pay, promotion, and benefits, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., as amended, and 42 U.S.C. § 1981a; the New York State Human Rights Law, New York Executive Law § 290 et seq; and Title 8 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York.

Specifically the plaintiffs alleged that MetLife consistently discriminated against women in promotions to certain management and vice president positions and that while 25 percent of account representatives were female, only 7 percent of managing directors were female. All seventeen regional and zonal vice presidents were male. The complaint also alleged that MetLife discriminated in compensation, working conditions, privileges, and other aspects of employment, such as paying women less than men in comparable positions and retaliating for reports of discrimination. The complaint alleged ths discrimination was systemic.

The plaintiffs sought to certify a class of "all female past, present, and future employees who have been employed within the Insurance and Financial Services Division of MetLife or its successor group, if any, since August 27, 1999, or who will be so employed between the date of the filing of this complaint and the date of judgment in this action, and all female applicants for those positions with MetLife who have been, continue to be, or in the future may be, denied employment opportunities or were deterred from applying for those positions during this same time period (the 'Class')." They also also sought to certify a subclass of plaintiffs who had worked for MetLife in New York.

The plaintiffs sought injunctive, declaratory and monetary relief. On August 20, 2003, the court granted a conditional certification of the settlement class and preliminary approval of a proposed consent decree and attorneys' fees and costs. It also scheduled a fairness hearing for November 6, 2003.

On November 6, 2003, the court approved a classwide consent decree agreed to by the parties, and awarded $3.4 million in attorneys fees. Mitchell v. Metro. Life Insurance Co., 01-2112, 2003 WL 25914312 (S.D.N.Y. August 20, 2003).

The settlement class consisted of "all women who have been employed in a Sales Position or Sales Management Position in MLFS at any time on or after August 27, 1999 through the Preliminary Approval Date." Disputes were to be handled by Michael D. Young, Esq., a Special Master, whom MetLife agreed to pay $50,000.



The three-year consent decree required MetLife to appoint a monitor to oversee compliance with benchmarks, review complaints of gender discrimination, meet with managers regularly, meet with class counsel, and submit all information pertaining to class counsel. MetLife agreed to pay all expenses of the monitor, estimated to be $750,000. MetLife agreed to create a written complaint procedure for cases of gender discrimination and to hire at least six "HR generalists" to track complaints. MetLife agreed to create a new anti-discrimination policy and to train all employees, spending an estimated $1.6m. MetLife also agreed to meet or use best efforts to meet benchmarks of certain percentages of women in management positions.

MetLife also agreed to pay an estimated $600,000 for agency management training and $600,000 to recruit female employees and to spend $350,000 on a management development program for high potential sales personnel.

MetLIfe agreed to pay $5m into a settlement fund, $25,000 to a reserve fund to pay claims of inadvertently omitted qualified claimants, fees of the Claims Administrator up to $150,000; a minimum payment of $1000 to each claimant and additional funds based on a point system that considered the position the claimant held and the time spent in the positions.

The docket notes that the case closed on November 6, 2003. One calss member opted out of the settlement and on December 31, 2003 filed an individual complaint in the same court. This case appears in this database as EE-NY-0256. The docket in that case indicates a private settlement, the terms of which are not publicly available.

Eric Weiler - 06/16/2010


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Comply with advertising/recruiting requirements
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Goals and Timekeeping
Hire
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Position Restored
Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law
Promotion
Provide antidiscrimination training
Recordkeeping
Reinstatement
Reporting
Retaliation Prohibition
Retroactive Senority
Utilize objective hiring/promotion criteria
Utilize objective job description
Defendant-type
Retailer
Discrimination-area
Demotion
Hiring
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Seniority
Training
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
No EEOC Final Resolution Type
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
State law
State Anti-Discrimination Law
Defendant(s) Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
Plaintiff Description Female sales representatives and managers at MetLife Insurance Company
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Impact Fund
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2004 - 2006
Case Closing Year 2004
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing EE-NY-0256 : Mitchell v. Metropolitan Life Insurance II (S.D.N.Y.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:01−cv−02112 (S.D.N.Y.) 10/22/2004
EE-NY-0255-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:03−cv−10294 (S.D.N.Y.) 04/29/2005
EE-NY-0255-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint And Demand For Jury Trial 03/13/2001 (2001 WL 34727500)
EE-NY-0255-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Answer 05/08/2001 (2001 WL 34727502)
EE-NY-0255-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendant's Motion for Disqualification of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP 07/20/2001 (2001 WL 34727820)
EE-NY-0255-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Disqualification of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP 08/10/2001 (2001 WL 34727821)
EE-NY-0255-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Reply Memorandum Of Law In Support Of Defendant's Motion For Disqualification of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP 08/22/2001 (2001 WL 34727822)
EE-NY-0255-0011.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum And Order [Disqualifying Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP From Representing Plaintiffs] 03/21/2002 (2002 WL 441194 / 2002 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 4675) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0255-0015.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
First Amended Class Action Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial 06/13/2002 (2002 WL 32768680)
EE-NY-0255-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Answer to First Amended Complaint 07/16/2002 (2002 WL 32768683)
EE-NY-0255-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Of Law In Support Of Plaintiffs' Motion For Class Certification 02/28/2003 (2003 WL 23951731)
EE-NY-0255-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Amended Memorandum Of Law In Support Of Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification 03/20/2003 (2003 WL 23951732)
EE-NY-0255-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Second Amended Class Action Complaint And Demand For Jury Trial 04/02/2003 (2003 WL 23951460)
EE-NY-0255-0013.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Of Law In Support Of Defendant's Opposition To Plaintiffs' Motion For Class Certification 04/20/2003 (2003 WL 23951733)
EE-NY-0255-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Plaintiffs' Memorandum Of Law In Support Of Motion For Certification Of Settlement Class, Preliminary Approval Of Consent Decree and Award of Attorneys' Fees and Costs, And Approval Of Class Notice 07/30/2003 (2003 WL 23951734)
EE-NY-0255-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Memorandum Of Law In Support Of Plaintiffs' Motion For Final Approval Of The Settlement Class And Consent Decree 10/24/2003 (2003 WL 23951735)
EE-NY-0255-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Consent Decree [With Exhibits] 11/01/2003
EE-NY-0255-0014.pdf | Detail
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Application For Award Of Attorneys' Fees And Costs 11/06/2003 (2003 WL 25914312 / 2003 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 27909) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0255-0016.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order [Re Discovery Disputes] 11/02/2004 (2004 WL 2439704) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0255-0017.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Judges Pauley, William H. III (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0255-0001 | EE-NY-0255-0015 | EE-NY-0255-0016 | EE-NY-0255-0017 | EE-NY-0255-9000 | EE-NY-0255-9001
Monitors/Masters Young, Michael D. (New York)
EE-NY-0255-0014
Plaintiff's Lawyers Borgen, David (California)
EE-NY-0255-0014
Burrell, Darci E. (California)
EE-NY-0255-9000
Demchak, Teresa (California)
EE-NY-0255-0014
Dermody, Kelly M. (California)
EE-NY-0255-9000
Finberg, James M. (California)
EE-NY-0255-9000
Geman, Rachel (New York)
EE-NY-0255-9000
Herndon, Holly K. (California)
EE-NY-0255-9000
Hilal, Leila K. (New York)
EE-NY-0255-9000
Kaiser, William Heywood (New York)
EE-NY-0255-9000
Kaiser, Daniel Jordan (New York)
EE-NY-0255-9000 | EE-NY-0255-9001
Klein, Adam T. (New York)
EE-NY-0255-0014 | EE-NY-0255-9000
Konecky, Joshua Geoffrey (California)
EE-NY-0255-9000
Moss, Scott (New York)
EE-NY-0255-9000
Ruan, Nantiya (New York)
EE-NY-0255-9000
Stadtmauer, Marc A. (New York)
EE-NY-0255-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Fagin, Allen I. (New York)
EE-NY-0255-0002 | EE-NY-0255-0014 | EE-NY-0255-9000 | EE-NY-0255-9001
Regan, Amy B. (New York)
EE-NY-0255-0002 | EE-NY-0255-0014 | EE-NY-0255-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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